High Fidelity Prototyping
Ever feel like you could use a guide for a consultative approach to high fidelity prototyping?
Let's examine the benefits of high fidelity prototypes relative to defining and enabling a robust product launch.
New products are prototyped utilizing many methods. The engineering world is very focused on the value of prototypes through all phases of the product development cycle. Rapid prototyping, aided by technology such as: FDM, SLA, and SLS, is the industry go-to method for quickly getting a part or product in our hands quickly to review and do limited testing. We use the low fidelity rapid prototyping process throughout the design cycle. As our clients move the design through to release they frequently are asking us for high fidelity prototypes - especially on highly tooled dynamic products.
Let’s examine the benefits of high fidelity prototypes relative to defining and enabling a robust product launch.
High fidelity prototype (HFP): Final prototype in a series of prototypes prior to tooling release. Used for final dynamic design validation testing, which includes: drop testing, temperature humidity, vibration, EMI/RFI.
Materials for HFP: In any case, all materials we use match the prototype material properties to the actual materials the final product that will be used.
Processing of HFP: Our processing is centered on CNC machining of all plastics and metals. We also use silicone rubber molds for gaskets and over-molding applications. Some of our large medical projects require glued ABS and CNC machined structures to simulate the actual final wall sections.
Finishing of HFP: In most cases these prototypes have high marketing value and are also in demand for executive presentations. Our shops must provide simulations of gloss paint finishes. All clear parts are also CNC machined and polished to clear. Typically all exterior metal parts are also finished to spec.
Testing: Our clients are looking for our team to validate the design. If we are doing FEA on a structure, then the client is asking us to perform impact testing on critical features. Drop testing of the entire product is also required - especially for products that have over-molded urethane shock systems.
Time to market: HFP reduce the number of mold and other tooling revisions. Our clients are able to release tooling with high confidence of meeting functional production validation testing.
Extreme HFP: Some of our clients have asked us to build single cavity prototype P20 molds for dynamic testing and limited market release.
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